On May 30, 2008, The Avenues of Art & Design in conjunction with Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, CA hosted Tables of Ten: Dining for a Cause, a dynamic culinary arts and design event. Gathering for one special night, these world-renowned designers, showrooms, restaurateurs and chefs united to create a unique dining experience where guests will enjoy gourmet dinners prepared by some of California’s most talented chefs.
I was greeted by Jamie Adler and Stacie Hunt, both Director of Events, who kindly gave me a tour of the pre-dinner preparation. The energy was palpable as everyone scuffled about to put the finishing touches that were going to welcome in an event of extravagant cuisine set among the dramatic outdoor plaza of the Pacific Design Center. It was a night about creativity and all that is artful. Eclectic lounge music and aromas of blissful ingredients wafted through the beautiful evening air, tantalizing our senses. The dining tables were outfitted in explosive sculptures and accessories from distinguished designers and showrooms. The array of colors awoke the plaza and created a playful mood among the elegant atmosphere.
And to keep everyone alive and moving, the wait staff, dressed in all black, passed throughout the plaza enticing our taste buds with endless sturgeon confit, tuna cucumber rolls, mini croque madams, minted mango roasted eggplant, caviar crostini, and beef carpaccio rolls.
I asked Jamie how she got involved with this art benefit. “We wanted to find a way to integrate food with art and giving back to the community”. Jamie serves on the Committee of Avenues of Art & Design and Pacific Design Center. In addition to her charity work, Jamie also owns her own design store on Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood called Phyllis Morris. Stacie Hunt serves on the Committee of Avenues of Art & Design and owns her own business Du Vin Wines & Spirits. Both women have played an integral part to Avenues of Art & Design over the years and helped produce an illustrious event that kicked off the 11th Annual Art & Design Walk.
I met with Tracy Murdock, designer for the table of Chef Helene An of Beverly Hill’s Crustacean restaurant. “Elizabeth (CEO and sister to Chef Helene) and I have been long time friends and when I heard about this benefit, I knew immediately I wanted to be a part of it. I chose to do a tabletop design “homage” to the late interior design legend Tony Duquette”. Duquette is known for his over-the-top style in interiors, jewelry, costumes, and set design. Tracy calls her table a “shellfish story”, pieced together with lobster sculptures, coral designs, rickshaw bookends, Chinese figurines and abalone shellfish blending the Asian/European flair that mirrors the ambiance of Crustacean. Chef Helene prepared her first course baby zucchini flower filled with lobster mousse and endive soup, jumbo tiger prawn with An’s garlic noodles and for the third course, steam sea bass with ginger, pineapple sauce and garlic rice. For dessert, apple sorbet with pistachio cake. A perfect match for the event! For more information please visit http://www.tracymurdock.com and http://www.anfamily.com.
Highlighting the exclusive evening will be courses prepared by acclaimed chefs; each creating a three-course meal followed by dessert. Tables of Ten chefs include: Chef Jeff Henderson form the Food Network’s “The Chef Jeff Project”, Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station, Neal Fraser from Grace, Brent Jaeger from The Palm West Hollywood, Javier Plascencia of Romesco, Yoshinura Kojima from Red Seven by Wolfgang Puck, David LeFavre of Water Grill, Kerry Simon from SIMON L.A., Gypsy Gifford from Patina Restaurant Group, Evan Kleinman with Café Angeli, Helene An of Crustacean Beverly Hills, and Antonia Lofaso of SBE’s Foxtail Restaurant (and contestant on BRAVO TV’s “Top Chef”).
This year, The Tables of Ten will get national coverage, as it will be airing on The Food Network as part of a reality show. Chef Jeff Henderson is currently filming his reality show in which he takes 6 kids from South Central who have been in juvenile hall or rehab centers and gives them an opportunity to re-direct their focus to food and art. If they pass this rigorous training program, Jeff will award them a $40,000 scholarship to art school. He approached Jamie just as the decisions for this year’s chefs were finalized and of course Jamie couldn’t pass on this wonderful opportunity. This catering event represents episode 3 of 6 due to air sometime in October.
Jeff Henderson brings to us this inspirational reality show through the heartache and courage of his own life where he unfortunately ended up in prison and became the prison cook. Being so fascinated with food and cooking, he began a new passion and found his way to Las Vegas, where after years of hard work, finally became Executive Chef at Café Bellagio. Tonight, Chef Jeff prepared from his Posh Urban Cuisine menu an avocado vichyssoise with petite marinate heirloom tomatoes, a crispy stripe bass surrounded by micro potatoes, fava beans in a natural au juis, and as for the third course, petite beef tenderloin with sweet corn reduction. For dessert, California peach crumble, oatmeal streusel with a vanilla bean ice cream. Please read more on Jeff at his official website http://www.chefjeffcooked.com.
The tables will be created by leading designers, showrooms, and special guests including: Willard Ford of Ford/Brady, Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM), Hutton Wilkinson for Baker Furniture, Daniel Vandenbark for Dezine, Inc., Brooke Ziccardi, Tracy Murdock, David Sutherland, Fendi Casa, Baroness Monica Von Neumann for the Palm Restaurant, Shay Watson of Aesthetica Events for Kerry Simon’s SIMON L.A., SBE’s Foxtail Restaurant, Wildflower Linens and Inner City Arts featuring tables decorated by the children.
Tables of Ten raises funds for Inner-City Arts, a non-profit organization which offers opportunities for children to build artistic self-expression, enhancing their ability to perform both creatively and academically in challenging environments. The Avenues of Art & Design and Pacific Design Center proudly supports Inner-City Arts and the notion that the arts enrich our lives. Last year, Tables of Ten doubled in sponsorship participation and raised a total of $27,000. The STAPLES Center Foundation, also a longtime supporter of Inner-City Arts, recently donated nearly a $1 million to the skid row arts center in support of their educational programs.
Following the event, the tables were on display the next day during the Avenues of Art & Design’s Art and Design Walk, a free annual event held along West Hollywood’s Melrose Avenue, Robertson and Beverly Boulevards. Over 300 fashion boutiques, design/furniture showrooms, fine art/antique galleries and restaurants opened their doors to welcomed guests. Along with the special receptions, personal appearances, food and entertainment, the Art Walk celebrated the launch of the Avenues of Art & Design’s new magazine, the Avenues, a twice yearly publication which highlights the district’s distinct businesses and events.
Official Tables of Ten event sponsors for this year included the West Hollywood Marketing & Visitors Bureau, STAPLES Center Foundation, Turnberry/Regent, LLC, Wachovia, Hamilton-Selway Fine Art Gallery, Sound Environment, Du Vin Wines & Spirits and SenovvA, Inc.
About Avenues of Art and Design
Located in West Hollywood, adjacent to Beverly Hills, the Avenues of Art & Design is the West Coast’s premier destination for interior design, art galleries, showrooms, high-end retail and top-rated restaurants. Established in 1996, the streets of Melrose Avenue, Robertson and Beverly Boulevards are where fine, decorative and culinary arts are conceived, created and consigned to aesthetically minded customers worldwide. http://www.avenuesartdesign.com
About Pacific Design Center
Pacific Design Center is the west coast’s leading resource for the interior design trades. With more than 140 showrooms and 2,200 interior product lines, PDC sells to the design professional. PDC serves the needs of the design, entertainment and arts communities by providing public and private conference spaces for lectures, meetings, special events, screenings, exhibitions and reception. A premier, multi-use facility, Pacific Design Center features The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA); two restaurants operated by world-renowned chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck; SilverScreen Theater, a 380 seat state-of-the-art luxury film venue and reception facility; and Conference Center, a 200 seat facility fully equipped for conferences and public meetings. Pacific Design Center was recently featured on Bravo TV’s newest competition reality series, Top Design and is the location for the Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Awards viewing party. Pacific Design Center is located at 8687 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood, CA. For more information, call 310-657-0800 or visit http://www.pacificdesigncenter.com.
About Inner-City Arts
Inner-City Arts was founded in 1989 in response to funding cuts that eliminated arts instruction from Los Angeles public schools. Inner-City Arts offers opportunities for children to build artistic self-expression, enhancing their ability to perform both creatively and academically in challenging environments. Children learn to communicate feelings and ideas in the universal language of art and are more empowered to apply the skills they have learned to their regular academic programs. Most importantly, children are able to see themselves as valuable, worthy and capable of reaching goals. http://inner-cityarts.org.